Looking back from our era of environmental sensitivity, it’s amazing to remember a time when you could buy this sort of stomach-churning horsepower straight from the showroom floor. What’s more, if you couldn’t afford to buy it, you could borrow it for the weekend from your local Hertz rent-a-car. The fact is that the American public loved the grunt, the image, and the Carroll Shelby Cobra connection.
Ford’s advertising slogan went straight to the point—Shelby Mustangs were “The Road Cars.” With 289 and 428cid V8s, they were blisteringly quick and kings of both street and strip. By ’67 they were civilized too, with options like factory air and power steering, as well as lots of gauges, a wood-rim Shelby wheel, and that all-important 225 km/h (140 mph) speedo. The little Pony Mustang had grown into a thundering stallion.
THE SHELBY IN ’67
’67 Shelbys had a larger hood scoop than previous models, plus a custom-built fiberglass front to complement the stock Mustang’s new longer hood. Shelbys were a big hit in ’67, with 1,175 350s and 2,048 500s sold. Prices were also about 15 percent cheaper than in ’66.
Racing-style lock pins were standard on the hood.
GT500 name was arbitrary and did not refer to power.
The wood-rim steering wheel came with the Shelby package.
There are tales of rented Shelbys being returned with bald tires and evidence of racing numbers on the doors.
At the end of 67, cars were renamed Shelby Cobras, but Ford still handled all promotion and advertising.
Scoops acted as interior air extractors for the Shelby.
Rear deck was made of fiberglass to save weight.
Wheels are optional Kelsey-Hayes Magstars.
Shelby gave the early Mustangs his special treatment in a factory in Los Angeles. Later cars were built in Michigan. Shelby delivered the first batch to Hertz the day before a huge ice storm. The brakes proved too sharp and 20 cars were written off.
Shelby’s springing was similar to the Mustang with front sway bar, stiff springs, and Gabriel shocks.
428cid V8 started life in the original AC Cobra.
THE 500’S BLOCK
The GT500 came with the 428 Police Interceptor unit with two Holley four-barrel carbs. Oval, finned aluminum open-element air cleaner and cast-aluminum valve covers were unique to the big-block Shelby.
The standard center-grille high-beam headlights were forced to the sides in some states because of federal legislation.
Thirsty 428cid V8 meant that only 13 mpg (4.6 km/l) was possible.
The introduction of power-assisted steering and brakes on the ’67 model meant that the once rough riding Shelby had transformed into a luxury slingshot that would soon become an icon.
The rear drum brakes were assisted at the front by more efficient discs.
For the Shelby, the Mustang’s rear lights were replaced with the ’65 T-Bird’s sequential lights.
Stewart-Warner oil and amp gauges and a tachometer were standard fittings. Two interior colors were available – parchment and black. Interior decor was brushed aluminum with molded door panels and courtesy lights.
The standard tachometer red-lined at 8000 rpm.
All GT350s and 500s boasted the standard and very practical Mustang fold-down rear seat along with Shelby’s own padded roll bar. Shelbys came in fastback only; there were no hatchbacks, and convertibles were only available from ’68.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang GT500 (1967)
PRODUCTION 2,048 (1967)
BODY STYLE Two-door, four-seater coupe.
CONSTRUCTION Steel unitary body.
ENGINE 428cid V8.
POWER OUTPUT 360 bhp.
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual, three-speed automatic.
SUSPENSION Front: coil springs; Rear: leaf springs.
BRAKES Front discs, rear drums.
MAXIMUM SPEED 132 mph (212 km/h)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 6.8 sec
A.F.C. 13 mpg (4.6 km/l)